Steven Dietz is one of those playwrights who take normal situations—relatively speaking—and overlay each mundane detail with hyper-absurdist brush strokes. The results can be funny, as they were in “Halcyon Days, ” a black comedy of errors about the Reagan years and the botched invasion of Granada. But Dietz’s plays can also feel like overly clever stylistic noodlings that merely point out the obvious. The government has long sanctioned certain people with the power to kill other human beings. But just because it’s okay with the government doesn’t mean it’s okay with the psyche. A recent article in the New Yorker pointed out that most men and women serving in Iraq have “looked down the barrel and shot at people, and many have killed,” and these veterans are returning to the States with a whole host of psychological problems because of it—problems the military pretends don’t exist. If we admit that killing someone fucks with your head, how can we justify sending people off to war? Dietz addresses something similar in “Foolin’ Around with Infinity,” his 1987 pseudo-satire about a pair of military men stationed a quarter-mile beneath the sands of Utah in a nuclear missile silo. The long hours of isolating boredom and the knowledge that they may, at some point, be responsible for the annihilation of an entire population, has made them more than a little batty—but to what end? The production, a first-time effort from Phalanx Theater, is solid enough in its execution, but the play itself leaves you empty-handed. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.